The weather is back up in the 70s in Bologna and once again we can feel the warmth of the sun on our faces! Here on the farm, all kinds of trees and plants are starting bloom and fill the world with color. All of this has me itching to get outside and do some hiking through this beautiful nature. Our previous home base, Garrison NY, along with the town to the North of it, Cold Spring, where my blogmate lives, are very well-known for their exquisite hikes, which take you through low- and high-lands, by rivers and streams, up rock-faced hills and through dense forests. Over the four years we lived there, the whole family got to walk, stump, run and jump through these trails and at least 3 out of 4 of us miss them terribly. Zoel, who spent 4 semesters having fun and learning about the great outdoors with his school’s Explorers’ Club (Big shout out to Mr Pete!) has been asking me to find some local trails for weeks, and today, I finally got to do a little research. Unfortunately, they do not seem to 10 minutes away from our house as they used to be, but they’re not that much farther!
Parco Regionale dei Gessi Bolognesi e Calanchi dell’Abbadessa
The trails at this park, which is about 30 minutes southeast of Casalecchio di Reno, appear to resemble most what we’re used to trekking in the Lower Hudson Valley. In particular, there are three hikes, each about two hours in length, that’ll provide a bit of a challenge for us without be overwhelming, while simultaneously, plunging us into a grand environment. Escursione speleologica nella Grotta della Spipola, La dolina della Spipola e l’altopiano di Miserazzano, and I gessi del Farneto.
This one is a little further South and features historical ruins dating back to the middle ages and even older, to the time of the Etruscans. It was also the site of a Nazi base camp established during the winter of 1944-45, and aside from the remaining walls of their quarters, there’s a system of trenches dug by the Germans that visitors can explore. (This has Zoel, who’s fascinated by World War II, written all over it.)
This is just one of eleven nature adventure parks in the Emilia Romagna region (of which Bologna is the capital)! I’ve never been to one, but the trails and activities available look amazing. Granted this is not traditional hiking, but you’re definitely surrounded by nature! Monte Pizzo, located in the Apennine mountains, appears to be just an hour or so to the southeast of Bologna. There are four treetop trails meandering by 34 platforms where aside from some ridiculous views, you can also find placards describing the fauna and wildlife in the surrounding beech woods. If heights and balancing on rope nets between trees is not your thing, there is also archery, mountain biking (with three routes that cross the area); paragliding (also in tandem, a flight school), soon the first paragliding experience in Italy for “differently-abled” persons and a picnic area. Lastly, they do have some regular old hiking trails for trekkers, from “simple ones for the whole family to more extreme ones lasting more than one day.”
On the link above, you can connect to more information about the other 10 adventure parks in the area, as well as more information about other incredible parklands in the Appenines and closer to Bologna.